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18 simple, free fixes for your Vista or XP PC

PC Advisor's ultimate PC repair kit

Whether your PC is truly ailing or has a classic case of hypochondria, PC Advisor has 18 simple, free ways to ensure your Windows XP or Vista system is raring to go.

Put some sizzle in your startups

Startup issues are often related to the faltering performance issues we've just discussed and caused by rogue software.

As often as not, though, sluggish startups can be cured by pruning back what's on your PC. More particularly, it could be a simple matter of stopping unnecessary services from launching at startup.

Your computer could be loading device drivers for hardware you no longer use. To save on system resources, uninstall those drivers. Since a careless choice can cause your machine to lose an important function, however, create a restore point in System Restore before proceeding.

By default, Device Manager doesn't show devices that aren't currently connected to your system. To make them visible, press Windows, R to open the Run box, type cmd and press Enter. At the command prompt, type set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1 and press Enter. Leave the command-prompt window open.

Now press Windows R again, type devmgmt.msc, then press Enter. In the Device Manager window, choose View, Show Hidden Devices. Click the plus sign (+) next to each branch to examine the drivers. Devices that are not currently connected appear with a pale version of the icon. If you come across a device you no longer use, right-click it and choose Uninstall. Follow the onscreen prompts to complete the process.

Map that

Once you've mapped a network drive to a letter on your PC, Windows will automatically restore the connection by default whenever you log on. Resuming network connections takes time, but you can speed up startup by dropping the connections you aren't using.

Press Windows, E to launch Windows Explorer, and type Alt, T, D to open the Disconnect Network Drives dialog box. Select which drives you want to disconnect, then click ok.

In the future, if you connect a drive for the current session only, simply enter its UNC path (this appears in the address bar in Explorer). If you use the Tools, Map Network Drive command in Explorer, make sure ‘Reconnect at logon' is unselected.

slow startup

  1. PC Advisor's ultimate PC repair kit
  2. Spyware & adware
  3. How to disable and remove spyware
  4. Startup issues
  5. Startup: lose lingerers
  6. Memory matters
  7. Stifle Shadow Copies' wastefulness
  8. Recover lost data
  9. System Works file recovery
  10. Web connection woes
  11. Disgnose your web connection
  12. Speed tweaks
  13. Windows won't boot


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